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Reign of Fire
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Reviews & Ratings for
Reign of Fire More at IMDbPro »

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161 out of 205 people found the following review useful:

Ashes to Ashes!

Author: uds3 from Longmont, Colorado
4 October 2002

The usual quota of "surface reviews" here. Are we living in a totally one-dimensional society these days that has no time now for unsupported fantasy - "Just the facts Ma'am, Just the facts!"

We have here an adult fairytale no less, yet what do I read (and I include paid media critics here) but absurd negative comments such as "How did McConaughey and his intrepid band of marines come up with the fuel to cross the atlantic?" "Why are the children seemingly so well fed in a period of pestilence?" "Where does the seemingly limitless fuel come from?" etc etc. Who CARES????????? this is a DRAGON fantasy for God sakes! Someone want to set up a Government enquiry as to why fairies speak English? the possibility that Humpty Dumpty had a middle-ear infection? Perhaps the Easter Bunny has some communicable diseases that he should be tested for?

Ok REIGN OF FIRE is not up there with other sci-fi classics and the marketing department should be answering charges of misrepresentation for that poster showing an aerial armada of helicopters battling the fire-breathing beasties over central London - that just never happens but I gotta tell you REIGN OF FIRE has some of the greatest set designs and cinematography I have ever seen. It is extremely interesting to LOOK at from a technical viewpoint. The dragons themselves make the least interesting contribution to the film and except for the final confrontation which almost "gets there" they are really secondary to the film itself. If you were to actually record the amount of dragon "screen time" I doubt it would be 18 minutes....and most of them are not far off laughable. Curiously, that aspect alone should have wrecked it for me...but it didn't - I found the "wasteland asharamas" totally credible and involving.

I thought the much maligned McConaughey's role not without interest. Still haven't worked out whether or not "Mad Matt" was supposed to be some hybrid creation - part Patton, part Maximus, part Captain Ahab or just all "grunt." He certainly handled his last solo flight with flair and derring-do. Basil Rathbone himself never swung a meaner sword! Christian Bale replete with his best "know wot I mean" brit accent was pretty good I thought as Quinn the reluctant colony leader. What I couldn't believe is how the years have treated Izabella Scorupco the most beautiful Bond girl I ever saw (GOLDENEYE). I realise that a decade of fighting dragons and close-contact aeriel combat takes a lot out of a girl but she looked 20 years older! I would never have recognised her. Totally shattered an illusion I have maintained of her. If she said "Boys with Toys" now, I think I'd need a double vodka-martini!

But I digress. The dragon fx were just so-so, they saved the best for last sensibly. The script had its moments but the production work and set-design were simply awesome...SO good in fact, the rest of the film really didn't matter! Overall I would bequeath it a 6.9. Worth seeing if one is prepared to watch it in the spirit that it was made.

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97 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Straightforward Stuff

7/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
24 May 2006

This was a bit different than one expected. There was no nonsense, no tongue-in-cheek humor or special-effects just for the sake of it: this was simply a humans vs. dragons story taking place in the future. No laughs and nothing hokey, which is what I expected. They played it straight, simply as a fight story between the two parties.

Yes, there were credibility problems with the story but overall, it was good escapist adventure. The dragons were realistic-looking, the scenery dreary but the story interesting and intense in spots.

I wouldn't buy it, but I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a night of adventure on film. You could do a whole lot worse, especially with two young actors who have arrived as stars: Christian Bale and Matthew McConnaughey.

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99 out of 134 people found the following review useful:

Silly but entertaining b-grade post-apocalyptic thriller.

Author: Infofreak from Perth, Australia
27 May 2003

Seems like I'm in a minority enjoying this one! It amazes me that so many people are quick to put the boot in to this (admittedly) silly but entertaining b-grade post-apocalyptic thriller yet line up to watch the absolutely awful and overblown Star Wars movies. Yes, I said b-grade, because despite the budget being close to $100 million, that's exactly what it is, a b-grade sci fi movie, no more, no less. Fans of Roy Ward Baker's 'Quatermass and the Pit', Larry Cohen's 'Q: The Winged Serpent' and Tobe Hooper's 'Lifeforce', all of which 'Reign Of Fire' reminded me of at various points, will enjoy this one more than the Blockbuster crowd. Christian Bale ('American Psycho') and Matthew McConaughey ('Frailty') are both pretty good as the leader of an underground community and a hardass military man respectively, who both have different approaches to their shared problem - the ongoing threat of dragon attacks. Yes, in this future dragons are real and have devastated the world, and only a handful of human survivors exist. Once you can accept that premise, and some of the "scientific" explanations for the why and wherefores of the dragons, you're in for a wild ride. No-one's gonna argue this is a great movie, but it's a lot of fun, and I recommend it, especially with beer and pizza.

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94 out of 131 people found the following review useful:

An interesting step for science fiction

7/10
Author: Agent10 from Tucson, AZ
22 July 2002

Sure, it was cheesy and low budget, but the indomitable Rob Bowman didn't pull any punches in this futuristic drama about dragons. Giving a scientific edge to a creature based in fantasy, this film proved to be a rather refreshing step in science fiction, which means it won't be a well received one. Even if this film barely makes its money back, at least it leaves the door open for other fantastic ideas in the science fiction genre.

As for the film, the technical side was excellent. Bowman, a former television director proves he can do just as well with a 50 million dollar budget (?) and a tough to sell idea. Both Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey were believable as care taking heroes. Their bipolar dynamic was especially excellent, creating tension not just in beliefs but also in culture and devotion to country. McConaughey was especially good as Van Zant (which was well cast, considering he is an actual southerner), bringing a role to his resume which I had never seen. All in all, a decent film to watch. 7/10

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37 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Mis-Advertised

8/10
Author: PyroSikTh from Cheddar
28 March 2009

I love this film. It shows the very human struggle to survive after they've been knocked from the top of the food chain. It blends medieval mythology with a modern era breathlessly. Definitely an original take on Man vs Dragon. Now to get this straight, this is a film about Humans, not about Dragons. The dragons merely supply the unique reason for the apocalypse. This is a film about the post-apocalypse, not the apocalypse. It's not about skies full of Dragons turning worldwide armed forces into ash on an epic scale. It's not about Dragons setting the world, quite literally, on fire. It's about after all that's happened.

Which is a shame this was advertised as a film about Dragons burning all life as we know it. Of course, everyone goes in expecting to see 90 minutes of Dragons destroying everything. If this had been advertised as a more human film about after these Dragons have completely wasted everything, I really think this could've been seen as a good film. It unfortunately set expectations high in the wrong sort of viewers by a mind-blowingly epic trailer.

Christian Bale, Gerard Butler and Matthew McConaughey all deliver their role superbly, and the script isn't as bad as it's made out to be either. The effects were great and the Dragons do look pretty realistic, to the point I almost believed this was a documentary. Okay, so there are some plot holes, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to fill those in yourself. I mean, does everything have to be explained so obviously? The only reason this film gets 4 stars and not 5 is because, being a film about human struggle, it could've done with a bit more character development. Other than that, it's a deeply entertaining, well-acted, suspenseful film.

Don't knock it before you see it for yourself.

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40 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Superb visuals make this a bit more than just glorious mindless fun.

Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California
16 July 2002



`Reign of Fire's' premise is simple: the world has been wiped out by airborne, fire-breathing dragons, who at first multiplied by the thousands but now themselves are starving and dying off. A few bands of people remain here and there trying to survive. Quinn (Christian Bale, with whiskers and glottal stops), who was on the scene as a boy in London when the first sleeping dragon awakened in a cave unearthed by an Underground project his mum was working on, leads a group of survivors in the north of England who're just trying to get a crop going for the next year and save a little mob of children. In comes Van Zan (Mathew McConaughey, with shaved head and brawny tattooed arms) leading an American helicopter crew. He's become a dragon slayer and since he's found there's only one male dragon left and it's somewhere around London, he's come to solicit aid. Quinn refuses. Van Zan pushes on to London without Quinn. They fail. He returns and begs Quinn to come as guide. What follows is the finale.

If you probe too deeply into the premise you're not going to have any fun, but fun is what this movie offers, glorious mindless fun and, above all, fabulous apocalyptic visuals of twisted metal, crepuscular landscapes, dark hulking ruins, and men crawling through them to fire off weapons at the evil birds, which look very graceful as they sweep through the skies and spurt out long expanding streams of fire. Shots are so stunningly composed you want them to freeze-frame. Within the dark end-of-the-world light there is amazing clarity. Working with Ridley Scott's cinematographer Adrian Biddle, X-Files director Rob Bowman has produced the best fantasy landscape this year next to `Lord of the Rings.' When Van Zan leads a hunt in the sky, it's like a computer game, and sometimes we see the game through the eyes of the dragon and it looks like a degraded digital film. However, it's not ingenuity of conception but sheer aesthetic appeal that makes the visuals of this movie so good.

The other large positive factor is the very solid, mostly English cast including a number of appealing youngsters led by Scott James Moutter as Jared, Quinn's adopted son, not to mention Bale, who brings a striking level of naturalness and conviction to his role as the sensitive, conscience-stricken Quinn. Bale's a foil to McConaughey's American macho militarist icon. McConaughey, whose finely chiseled face can be seen staring in mirrors in `Thirteen Conversations About One Thing,' is having a lark playing a brute here, but in the moments when he isn't shouting, he gives Van Zan almost as much conviction as Bale gives Quinn. Ladies are in short supply in this story: there's Alex (Izabella Scorupco) as Van Zan's helicopter pilot who winds up with Quinn, and for five minutes there's Alice Krige as young Quinn's mum. But since this movie's ideal audience might surely be young teenage boys, that's probably enough. Other things are lacking too, such as more variety in the dragons, more recognizable details of the wrecked London of the final scenes, some more colorful characters among Quinn's community, as in post-apocalyptic classics like `Mad Max.' But to say that is to miss the point, which is that this is a fast, exhilarating ride that's a feast for the eyes. If you want to view all this as a `B' horror picture, fine: just grant that it's a first-class version. To be seen, by all means, on a big screen, preferably in a big, old-time movie house.

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91 out of 150 people found the following review useful:

another neglected classic

10/10
Author: Raegan Butcher from Rain City, Pacific Northwest
15 December 2003

I think this is the best post-apocalyptic action film since The Road Warrior. Everything about it works: the story, the acting, the sets, the special effects. It amazes me that this film never found it's audience. I think it's fantastic.A really interesting take on the dragon myth. Something never seen before in a film. Unfortunately, that summer of 2002 all anyone could think about was the over hyped debut of "spider man." Such a shame, because this film beats it by a mile in terms of imagination on display. The sequence where men attempt to snare a dragon in mid-air is something that has never been seen before on-screen. Amazing and excellent stuff, pulled off with panache.

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46 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Highly Entertaining, Interesting Movie

10/10
Author: winstonsmith_84 from Oceania
24 July 2002

The previews for this movie did not really interest or impress me at all. In fact, I went to this movie only half-interested with a friend who claimed that it would be a good movie. The PG rating worried me, and I was afraid it would be another poorly done movie. I mean, dragons in the future??

However, the previews didn't really say anything about the great acting, touching scenes, and great overall story and concept. What a surprise this movie was! Matthew McConnaughy does a great job, and I could only really half-believe it was him through the whole movie! He plays such an interesting character ... and then the highly rated Christian Bale lives up to his previous acting job... a brilliant performance on his part.

I really was impressed with this movie. It's a wonderful post-apocalyptic movie that explains the demise of the dinosaurs, and brings a whole new element to the evolution and recycling of life on planet Earth. Everything in this movie was great, and sci-fi fantasy fans, you MUST SEE THIS MOVIE!!

A few complaints though, no nothing too bad really.. just nitpicky: 1) a poor directing decision on filming parts of the dragon's eyesight perspective; this kind of technique is shabby, but luckily, it was for only 2 quick shots. 2) They should have explained how the tanks and helicopters get their fuel. 3) The end line was a little silly, something to do with evolution? Huh? 4) Where did all the female dragons go at the end? They just seem to dissapear... maybe an extra 2 minute scene there could have helped to explain the final demise of the dragons.

Overall, this movie is a winner! I'd rate it a solid 8/10 or so! See it! Finally, a post-apocalypse movie that is original, believeable, and doesn't have Kevin Costner in it!!!

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25 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

The dragons are spectacular.

Author: beth83_1998 from Red Bud, IL
7 March 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Reign of Fire is a must see movie for its special effects and computer graphic dragons. The plot is wacky because of the theory the dinosaurs were killed by dragons. The actors are perfect for their roles and did a fine job. In London, an underground tunnel digging operation hits a cave containing the long dormant dragons. This causes the dragons to awake and spread all over the world. They burn everything in their path. The Earth is broiled and the dragons formed a dictatorship. All surviving organisms hide. Quinn is the leader of a small hiding community. His leadership comes to question when Americans show at their door. Big, grizzly Van Zan tells his story of being a dragonslayer, and Quinn lets them stay. Van Zan has a theory that there is only one male and it is living in London. He wants an army to help him kill the male and save the world. The computer graphics and special effects are awesome. Some movies have big dragons and little wings that somehow make it fly, but Reign of Fire's dragons have huge wingspan. The dragons look spectacular. Van Zan's leap into the dragon is the most exciting part of the movie. I think the director is combining fantasy and future to make the audience think that anything is possible. Bizarre things are going to happen in the future, but I do not think dragons are going to take over the world.

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44 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

not exactly sizzling

Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
31 July 2002

`Reign of Fire' is a no-more-than-passable sci-fi monster movie, strong on production values and special effects and weak on just about everything else. Once again we have the typical gray-and-khaki hued post-apocalyptic world filled with burnt out cities, roaming bands of grimy-faced survivors, and enough soot, dirt and rust to make the audience feel the need for a shower once they get out of the theatre (in other words, the `Mad Max' look).

The apocalypse in this case comes in the form of a race of fire-breathing dragons that are awakened from their millennia-long state of dormancy thanks to a deep-drilling construction project in downtown London. We are told that these ash-eating dragons hibernate for eons at a time waiting for the earth to replenish itself before embarking on another mission of total bio-global destruction. This is, in fact, the explanation for the demise of the dinosaurs, though, if this were indeed the case, one might question just how this species managed to so completely avoid leaving any evidence of its existence in the fossil record. In this kind of movie, it is probably best not to ask questions of this sort and to just go along with the sheer inanity of it all.

The first specimen to be unleashed is discovered by a young London lad named Quinn Abercrombie who, 18 years later, has grown up to be the hunky Christian Bale, leader of a group of survivors holed up in a kind of mountainside fortress with very little hope for a future. That is, of course, until one fateful day when `Dragon Slayer' Denton Van Dan (Matthew McConaughey) makes his sooty-faced appearance. From then on it becomes a battle of the minds and muscles between these two strong-willed individuals who have decidedly different ideas about how best to ensure the survival of the human race.

Movies like `Reign of Fire' pretty much preclude any real critical analysis. Suffice it to say that the special effects and art direction are quite impressive throughout, the dialogue bland and purely functional, and the performances adequate to the admittedly rather unchallenging task. And the characters are at least allowed to show their human side at times, displaying various amounts of fear, uncertainty and emotional vulnerability even at those moments when they are having to be at their most daring and heroic. There is one truly inspired scene in which two of the adults beguile the children by acting out the Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader `I am your father' confrontation scene from `The Empire Strikes Back.' More clever moments like that would have helped make `Reign of Fire' a more distinctive film than it currently is.

Oh well, if nothing else, the theatre-shaking soundtrack is enough to keep you awake, if not exactly interested, at all times. But cranking up the volume is often the first indication that a movie has very little else to offer.



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